Category Archives: Prayer

4th Sunday of Lent year C, 2019. A Reflection from Fr Brian Gleeson CP, Melbourne Australia. THE GREATEST STORY EVER TOLD.

On all his days on earth Jesus shows pastoral care for all sorts of people. But he shows a special affection for poor unfortunate persons, and even for extortionists and prostitutes. His opponents sneer: ‘This man welcomes sinners and eats with them’ (Lk 15:2).

The warmth and generosity of his human caring and welcome show that in the eyes of God they are not ‘rejects’, ‘outcasts‘, losers’ and ‘no-hopers’. On the contrary, God wants to put them back together again. So in and through Jesus, those labelled the ‘lost’ come to meet the God of the lost. It’s for their sake and in their defence, that Jesus speaks his famous parables of the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the lost son.


The story of the lost son, the most famous just shared, has been called ‘the greatest short story in the world’. It’s not really the parable of a prodigal, i.e. of a spendthrift, as it’s usually called, but the parable of an incredibly generous father of two sons (see v.11), who in different ways have both lost their way in life.

The parable tells us a great deal about Jesus himself. His own way of acting is the starting-point of the story. He’s explaining why he ‘welcomes sinners and eats with them’ (v.2). They’re the lost ones, the ones he’s bringing home to God. For Jesus, all persons who have strayed from God are not truly themselves. So, in the midst of his failures and mistakes the lost son comes to understand that he will be happy again only in the company and home of his father. Meanwhile his father is longing for him to return, and as soon as he catches a glimpse of his son returning, he starts running along the road to embrace him and bring him home (v.20).


When they reach the house, the father cuts short the son’s prepared speech. There’s no reprimand, not even a small dose of ‘I told you so …’ There’s no pay-back, no penance, no punishment and no recriminations. Instead the father is so glad to have his son back with him again that he gives him the robe of honour, the ring of authority, and the sandals of a son.

The Pharisees, to whom Jesus was telling this story, would have been shocked to the core at how Jesus was keeping company with people who were not only outsiders but ‘sinners’, contact with whom would bring defilement. In a sadistic way they were looking forward not to the saving but to the destruction of those whom they so easily and so self-righteously labelled ‘sinners’.

At the sound of music and dancing the eldest son comes in from the fields. His father goes out to him and pleads with him to come to the party (v.38). This eldest son believes he has done everything ‘right’, and has spent his whole life slaving away on the family farm. His attitude to his wayward brother is one of utter contempt. He even calls the prodigal not ‘my brother’ but ‘your son’.

In the details of his story, Jesus is saying that our God is not a mean book-keeping God at all, but a warm, gracious and generous Father who never stops loving, simply because he never stops wanting to save. No matter how often we may turn our backs on God and go away to do our own selfish thing, God, as in the story, waits patiently for us to come to our senses and return home. The moment we begin to admit that our selfishness has brought us only frustration and misery, shame, guilt, and self-loathing, God comes running to hug us and take us back. There he treats us not as our mistakes and sins deserve, but with tenderness and compassion. In the Eucharist he even throws a party and lavishes ‘welcome home’ gifts upon us – Christ himself in his body and blood.

Christ's body

In conclusion, let me share with you a variation on the story Jesus told. Once there were two priests in the same diocese. One of them drank too much, he was often late for appointments, the parish was deep in debt and his bookwork was a mess. Yet the people loved him. The other priest was a very capable and careful manager. He was very meticulous and exact in everything. His book-keeping was impeccable and he always treated everyone according to all the rules and regulations of the diocese. His parish had no debt. In fact, it owned substantial investments. Yet his people didn’t think much of him or warm to him at all.

That’s amazing. It seems unfair. It begs the question: ‘What did the first priest have going for him that the second one lacked?” Let’s try to figure that one out for ourselves!


Brian Gleeson special photo

Passionist Province


3rd Sunday of Lent Year C: A realhomilie from Fr Kevin Walsh, Sydney, Australia. Readings are taken from Year A. ‘Lord, I thirst for you, I am hungry for your Word, fill me with your life’!

Baptism Pope-Benedict-Baptism-Sistine-Chapel

The liturgy of today reminds us strongly of our baptism. That is why I have chosen the Readings from Year A. It is the water that began to quench our thirst for all that is good and worthwhile, above all for God himself. It is the water that never dries up; for baptism is not just a ritual but life, a new way of living, a lasting attachment to the person of Christ and a union with the community of the Church. It is the life of Christ that keeps growing in us. Jesus himself nourishes this life here in the Eucharist. Let us ask him to keep giving us this living water and to make us share it with others.

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Opening Prayer

Let us pray to God
that the life of Christ in us
may be rich and full
Father of life
and giver of all that is good,
we want to drink your life to the full.
Let Jesus, your living Word,
speak to us from heart to heart.
Give us an unquenchable thirst
for the things that matter:
for faith and for meaning in our lives,
for hope in a better world
filled with your justice and peace,
for a spirit of committed love
that knows how to share itself.
Generously give us all these
through Jesus Christ our Lord. R/ Amen.

Realhomilie……..Year A readings NOT Year C. Because of the Catechumens who will be received into the Church at Easter.

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The names that we give to our children at Baptism are generally well thought out beforehand, because a person’s name is very precious; it is their identity. As we grow older, the sound of our name can be music to our ears, or the sound could herald something serious. It all depends on how our name is said. Many years ago when I went to school, we were generally called by our Surnames…Walshie has always been my name, and it continued in Seminary days even to this day, especially by the Priests and Brothers; over time it has been a name of endearment.

For our Australian Aboriginal sisters and brothers, they are generally not in a hurry to give their child a name after birth, they wait until they start to see aspects of its personality emerge. Sometimes the names that we give our children are handed down from generation to generation or they might be a special Saint’s name whose life we might strive to imitate. Our name is us! When we re call the name of a person in conversation, the whole person comes to mind….hopefully bringing smiles to our faces.

2nd Sunday of Lent year B Family

In the first reading this Sunday, we have the unveiling of God’s name through loving action. This begs the question: how do we get to know God? Well, believe it or not, we get to know God in the same way as we get to know each other. How did you meet you wife or husband? How, and when did you meet your best friend? The gradual knowledge of who that person is, becomes known to us through: 1. Intrigue…chemistry attraction. 2. A thrilling adventure opens up. 3. Trust is required. 4. Conversation fuels the development of the relationship. The same applies to God…….however, there is something a bit different. WE could never have found God, if God had not found US first!!

Burning Bush 5

Let’s have a look at Exodus Chapter 3…Moses in the quiet of the evening, sees a Bush on fire, but not burning up….what does he do? Curiosity seizes him, and he goes to check it out. The Lord God saw him going forward….and the Lord God called Moses by his name! Wow! What a surprise that must have been for Moses? The Lord God tells Moses to unstrap his sandals because the ground is holy. Here we have an act of trust required by Moses, because as he undoes his sandals, his back is open to attack! What makes this new ground holy? The budding conversation that is changing Moses forever! Then the Lord God shares a little more with Moses about who he is…..’Ah! Thinks Moses, this is the God of my ancestors…we have stories about this God’. Here the Lord God identifies with the suffering of his people, and hears their cry for help. The Lord God will deliver his people from misery, and give them their own fertile land. As this conversation gets deeper between the Lord God and Moses, another huge act of trust is required by Moses….Guess who was to be the spokesperson on behalf of the Lord God? Moses himself!!!

14th Sunday Year A Prophet Zechariah the lord remembers

Here we have the unveiling of the Divine Name….not a usual name, because a usual name cannot contain God! ‘I am who am’…..YHWH…Meaning: – You will know who I am from what my people who have experienced me say about me in their stories. You will know who I am through what I do for you. You will know who I am from what I say to you. Hence the household name for God is Adonai…Lord!

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Now today, we have a thread or theme of Water running through the three readings. Exodus 17:3-7. Romans 5:1-2. 5-8 John 4:5-42. Let’s

Have a good look at the theme of water and its profound meaning for all times and all people. Without water…we cannot exist. Without water, we would die. If our plants do not have water, they die. In fact nothing would live. When we are really thirsty, that is the only thing on our mind. We just need a drink! Our bodies are substantially made up of water. Water is the supreme symbol of LIFE!


In the first Reading we hear God’s people screaming out for water…..they complain to Moses….the instrument of the Lord God, for bringing them out into a horrible desert. However, this means more than just wanting a cool drink; it was also a test of the people’s trust in the lord God, and a trust in Moses. But it would also turn into a real SIGN of the Lord God’s love for his grumbling people, by giving them cold water from the Rock at Meribah.

2 Lent Reflection

The response to the Psalm today is a fantastic twitter message: If today you hear God’s voice, harden not your hearts! This message should be on every day of our Outlook Express Calendar! This saying should be one of the most significant magnet messages on our Fridge, this message should become part of our bone marrow, and should be tattooed on our arms and heart.

6th Sunday after Easter Year A Holy Spirit Brian

In the second reading from Romans, we see that the life of the Holy Spirit has been freely poured like water into our hearts! As we listen to and respond to the Holy Spirit, the ‘life’ of God runs through us, and enables us to positively respond to the Lord God’s Mission, and be Christ in the world! The Gospel today is just and incredible expose’ of the ongoing life of God offered to all! Yes, all people, no matter who they are.

Jacobs well 3

Let’s look at the Well; an ancient site of God’s benevolence to His people….a place of refreshment, a place of Life. Now, we are dealing with John’s Gospel, it is packed with symbols and deep meaning and today’s Gospel has its fair share of all of that. Let’s go deep sea diving into the symbolism. Firstly Jesus is in foreign territory…the Samaritans and the Jews really did not like each other. Jesus, followed by his companions are deliberate in making their passage into this territory and to this well. Notice that Jesus breaks a custom for a greater good by asking the Samaritan woman he she could draw some water from the well to give him a drink. She is well aware that Jesus is a Jew and takes note of the break in custom. However, this beginning of the conversation prepares the way for something ‘life changing’ for the woman and is deeply profound for all of us in all times and ages. The Johannine Community who put together this Dramatic presentation in Chapter 4, which is part of The Book of signs, is filled with evergreen meaning. Remember the conversation that Moses had with the angel of the Lord at the Burning Bush? That place became hallowed from the conversation… at the Well, this conversation is enabling the place and the message to be hallowed. Jesus, questions her about her Husband, and it seems that she had had a checkered career with husbands….but let’s not get hooked on that aspect, because here there is a far deeper parable at work. It would seem that the five husbands stand for the first five Books in the Torah….the Law for Israel. Jesus is saying that on that Law, He, surpasses that, but is built on that….Jesus is offering New Life, and He is the living Water. Just as in the Book of Exodus, the Lord God unveils His name…’I am who am’ YHWH, he we see the Divine name being revealed by Jesus to the Samaritan woman. Note that in the Gospel text Jesus says to the woman, ‘I who am speaking to you’, said Jesus, ‘I am he’. Notices that Jesus also says that He is food….food like the Manna in the Desert……another action….SACRAMENT of nourishment, inclusion and mission!

Love of God th8I3C729H

Notice that it the Gospel today as always, Jesus invites us to wholesomeness…..I believe that means holiness! Holiness is not measured by the calluses on our knees, but by the nimbleness of our hearts…the sweetness of our relationships, not by arrogance, not by superiority, not by pomposity in the name of Religion…nor appearing like an Emperor of the Church….but the real symbols of holiness is a towel, a basin and a water jug!


God speaks to us through his Word, because it is always evergreen. God speaks to us through His living Body – God’s People, the Church. God is present with us, and in us, through the Eucharist………We become, what we eat! God speaks to us through His Word….God shows us his voice in our sisters and brothers. Maybe our Lenten prayer could well be…’Speak Lord your Servant is listening’…..instead of, ‘Listen Lord, your servant is speaking’. Food for Thought! In the Biblical Scriptures, WATER is a very important and strong theme. Its theme focuses in on the very nurturing from God….namely, ‘life giving’.

6th Sunday after Easter Year A Speak Lord pic

We are now half way through Lent….let’s do a different kind of examination of conscience…

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ANTIPHON: If today you hear God’s voice harden not your hearts.

A woman named SAD-OF HEART met Jesus at the well. Sighing with relief she placed the burden of her leaden heart at his feet. “No one cares”, She cried to him. He turned her face to him and held it in his strong hands. He just loved her. ANTIPHON: If today you hear God’s voice harden not your hearts.

A woman named BURNED-OUT CASE found Jesus at the well. “I’m too tired to go on. No one really understands. I feel used up, nothing more to give. I want to quit, but I don’t know how” she sobbed as she held out the worn out pieces of her life, faded, frayed, and fragile. Jesus offered her his arm and said, “Come to me and I will refresh you and restore you to wholeness”. ANTIPHON: If today you hear God’s voice harden not your hearts.

A woman named ANGRY discovered Jesus at the well. “Why isn’t anyone willing to listen to me?” she shouted. “What do I do that turns away my chances of being heard? Must I be a first class story teller just to get a hearing?” Jesus took her anger as one receives a gift and said, “Speak to me. My heart is ready, my heart is ready.” And so we pray: – If today you hear God’s voice harden not your hearts.

A woman named RESENTMENT approached Jesus at the well. Her face could not hide her feelings. “No matter how much I do, it never seems enough,” she complained. “I resent that my performance is measured against someone else’s accomplishments. I can only be who I am.” Laying his hand on her head, Jesus whispered into her ear: “you are my chosen, holy and beloved.” ANTIPHON: If today you hear God’s voice harden not your hearts.

A woman named WANTING-TO FALL-IN-LOVE-AGAIN sought Jesus at the well. The light in her eyes spoke the questions in her heart. “How can I fall in love all over again? What will it look like when I do and how will I know I have?” Radiant with joy, Jesus smiled at her and said, “if only you recognized God’s Gift…the desire to love is already loving…!” ANTIPHON: If today you hear God’s voice harden not your hearts.

A woman named NEEDING-FORGIVENESS came to Jesus at the well. Tears of repentance like gentle rain washed over her face and fell on his sandaled feet. “Forgive me, for I have sinned, and my sin is always before me. Do not cast me away from your presence”. Holding her to his heart, Jesus promised, “With great love I take you back, my love. I will never leave you and my covenant of peace shall not be shaken. As far as the east is from the west, so far have I cast your sins from you.” And so we pray: – If today you hear God’s voice harden not your hearts.

A woman named WAITING-IN-STILLNESS sat with Jesus at the well. She looked at his face. She said nothing. She held her heart in readiness.

‘Give me your heart.” Jesus said, ‘I want to fill the emptiness. I want to mend the brokenness. I want to give it the shape of my own.” ANTIPHON: If today you hear God’s voice harden not your hearts.

A woman named CONFUSED-OF-HEART dragged her feet in the dust as she approached Jesus at the well. She couldn’t raise her eyes to him. “I don’t know what I want or how I feel. I have volcanoes and tidal waves inside me and I’m so afraid they will destroy me and those I care about.” Jesus called her to the rim of the well: “See how deep it is, probably so full. But we can only draw up one bucket at a time.” He dropped the bucket over the ledge, filled it a brought it to the top. “Take it slowly,” Jesus urged, “One bucket, one feeling at a time. The well of you is so deep, but I will help you draw yourself into light.” ANTIPHON: If today you hear God’s voice harden not your hearts.

A woman named APOSTLE raced to Jesus at the well. “Hurry,” she cried,

“There’s so much to do! I’m busy, I’m tired, but come on, let’s get moving!”

Jesus replied: “Let me stay with you awhile. You are bread for the world, but let me take you, bless you, break you open. Let ME give you to others…”

And so we pray: – If today you hear God’s voice harden not your hearts.  


Kevin and Shauna

Shauna with her companion, Fr Kevin

Heart Flame 4




3rd SUNDAY OF LENT year C, 2019. by Fr Brian Gleeson CP, Melbourne Australia. OUR SPIRITUALITY

If we browse through the magazines in our doctor’s or dentist’s waiting-rooms, we will probably come across an article on spirituality. Lately too, the lists of best-sellers often include works related to the human spirit or soul. People are no longer satisfied with material things only. So, in their search for satisfaction and self-fulfilment today, people have been looking for meaning and value beyond the material and the physical.

So far, so good! But not all agree on what is meaningful and valuable in life. For some, being ‘spiritual’ is focussed on a sense of harmony with all living things, and openness to the great power upholding our intricate universe. For others it includes meditation and relaxation exercises for the sake of inner peace and calmness and for the sake of greater physical and mental energy. For some it’s mixed up with trances or alleged messages from outer space or from dead friends and relatives. In so-called ‘New Age Spirituality’ it often involves tarot cards and crystals.

In some searches for the spiritual there is a concentration on the ‘self ‘ rather than on the ‘Other’ or ‘the others’. There is little or no awareness at all of such people in need as the poor and the suffering. In other searches for the spiritual there is little sense of the reality of evil. Everything in the garden is rosy. Everything is viewed through rose-coloured glasses. Such spiritualities seem rather selfish and inward-looking, or an escape from reality and a flight into fantasy.

But there’s another kind of spirituality – Christian spirituality – which you and I have been sincerely trying to live. It’s based on the conviction that a meaningful life is all about good relationships. In relation to ourselves we know that ‘God doesn’t make junk’. So we value ourselves and respect our own dignity, and we work on becoming better persons, knowing that God is patient with us, and hasn’t finished with us yet. In relation to other people, we look for the good in them, and deal with them with acceptance, trust, affection and care. In relation to God we treat God as our origin, the ultimate source of our existence. We treat God too as the one who sustains us through all the ups and downs of life. And we treat God as our final destiny, the one who is waiting to take us into his embrace at the end of this life.


So for us life is both personal and interpersonal. God is much more than the great Architect, who designed this amazing universe, and much more than the great Clockmaker, who keeps it ticking over. No! God is Father, Mother, Friend, and Love Itself with a capital ‘L’. We hear God speaking to us, and we respond to God. With thoughts, words and actions of praise and thanksgiving! With thoughts, words and actions of love and self-offering! We converse with God as familiarly as friends talk with one another, as intimately as a wife speaks with her husband, or as children chat with their parents.

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So, in today’s First Reading we hear God say (directly to Moses, and indirectly to us): ‘I am the God of your ancestors, the God of your fathers and mothers. ‘I have seen the miserable state of my people in Egypt. I have heard their appeal to be free of their slave-drivers. . . . I am well aware of their sufferings. I mean to deliver them up out of that land to a land rich and broad, a land where milk and honey flow.’ In response to this powerful assurance from God that God cares when people suffer, that God is a liberator who acts to deliver people from oppression of every kind, we have answered again and again: ‘The Lord is kind and merciful; the Lord is kind and merciful’.

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Our conversation with God continues in this Mass we are celebrating together. In a few moments we will be declaring in the Creed all that God has done for us and for our people down the ages. In our Prayer of the Faithful we will speak words of trust and petition. In our Eucharistic Prayer, we will start with words of joyful praise and thanksgiving, and go on to words of petition for a variety of people both living and dead.

In short, our spirituality as Christians is immensely and intensely personal and interpersonal. We sense that our God is closer to us than we are to ourselves. We cannot stop ourselves from reaching out to the love and goodness which is God. In fact we cannot even understand ourselves or describe ourselves, except in relation to God. So much so that we are convinced that God enters into the very definition of who we are as human beings. We find meaning and value in a personal and community relationship with a personal God, a God who is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. This is the God whom we meet in our readings from scripture! This is our kind of spirituality!

Brian Gleeson special photo

Passionist Province


2nd Sunday of Lent Year C. A realhomilie from Fr Kevin Walsh, Sydney Australia. ‘LISTEN TO MY SON’ NOW!!


 Transfiguration 2

On the second Sunday of Lent each year, the gospel is always about the Transfiguration of Jesus, of which we have several accounts in the Gospels. Today’s account is from St. Luke and his community. Once again, we read of Jesus inviting Peter, James, and John to climb a mountain, and join him in prayer. This means that they would have been close in proximity to Jesus while he was in prayer! We are told that Jesus was praying, which seemed to be quite a familiar scene to the apostles, who accompanied him. Meanwhile, it is very good to keep in mind that the mention of MOUNTAINS in Scripture is not just by chance; mountains are places of revelation, of profound stillness, within conversation and enlightenment, caused by The Divine. This time, however, something out of the ordinary happened; the veil was lifted, and they got a glimpse of the divinity of Jesus. Moses and Elijah appeared with him, and they were talking together.

Transfiguration 4

Before we go any further, let’s just pause for a moment! Often in religious art, the Transfiguration is portrayed with some distance between the Apostles and the action with Jesus. However, when we look not only at the words but into the words of Scripture, we can safely conclude that the Transfiguration happened right among them! The apostles were privy to Our Lord’s conversation with Moses and Elijah, and they were chatting about the coming Passion and Death of Jesus! Notice, that the apostles were very tired: were they dreaming? Why were they tired? Too much work to do? Or was their sleepiness a sign that there ‘faith-insight’ was getting tired? Questions like: ‘What is this following Jesus all about? Is it just too much to bear?’

26th Sunday year B Jesus with disciples discussing

If these were some of their questions, they surely could well be some of our own questions too! So, often when we invest ourselves into a project, there are times, when it all becomes too heavy….’I just can’t go on!’ Then suddenly there is light at the end of the tunnel! There is a purpose, there is a reason, this is the truth, and it is real! We are not finished with this yet; one more aspect to take note of: Can we ask the question as to what was going on inside the apostles as they were experiencing this Transfiguration? I deliberately say THIS because in the Gospels there are other kinds of Transfigurations. In order for us to arrive at some understanding of what was going on inside the apostles at this Transfiguration, we could do well to ask ourselves ‘what has gone on inside ourselves’ during times of Transfiguration in the past? Now, if we say, ‘Oh, I am not holy enough to experience this’, that is incorrect! Look at the track record of Peter, James and John! If it was good enough for them, it is good enough for us! Was your transfiguration experience a time when your Baby was born into this world!

Was it a time through deep conversation that an inner conversion with self, had taken place, and the black hole that you were in was now filled with light? Was it a time when you were present with a precious loved one who was dying?

Then suddenly, the atmosphere in the room changes, you can feel this in your stomach, in your head, and time seems to pause, you feel that someone else is in the room…..maybe the beloved partner of the dying person, who had died years before? Maybe, if the dying person’s pet dog is on the bed during all of this, and suddenly stands up, ears pricked, and smartly walks down to the end of the bed, and lovingly watches their owner. Maybe at the same time as all of this, your family member who was dying, suddenly and momentarily moves in the bed; her face breaking into a youthful smile at her beloved who is visiting her; is that light at the end of the tunnel? Now, if you have been present in the room during this transfiguration, the feeling can be: ‘Let’s contain this renewed and warm sense of family!’ Your stomach may feel unknotted, or a warm and gentle breeze brushes past the cheeks on your face! A time when all stops; a moment of timelessness exists, the ambience within the room is gentle light………’we want to encase it, we want to hold onto this glimpse of peace, love and warmth. This can be a preparation to pass into the loving embrace of God, accompanied by the one who provoked the all-embracing smile of happiness……then, all returns to what it was, but not as it was, because we have experienced transfiguration, and we can never go back; this experience is the new normal! It does something special IN us!

The Three Chapels on Mt Tabor.

Back into the Gospel story, we see Peter, as usual, was right there with a suggestion: This scene is so beautiful in every aspect, which he wanted to build some kind of accommodation, so that they could continue to live there and contain what had happened. Moses and Elijah disappeared, however, and in the midst of some sort of misty cloud, they heard the Father’s voice announcing ‘this is my Son, the Chosen One. Listen to him’. Everything then returned to normal, and the apostles kept the event a secret for a long time after it happened. Could they return to normal? The Apostles were also changed. However, what effect did that special event have on their minds and understanding of Jesus, and of the Mission entrusted to him by His Father? What can we learn from this event today? Food for thought!

Mt.Sinai at daybreak

In the Scriptures, there are many references in the Old and New Testament about the significance of Revelations on top of mountains. Some of these special occasions would most certainly be the encounter that Moses had with The Lord God YHWH on Mt.Sinai. The very place where God initiated the Covenant with his people, and gave them the Ten Commandments or Decalogue (Ten Words) as a guide for them. Remember Mt.Nebo? The place where Moses and the chosen people viewed the Promised Land?…it was the Mountain where the promises made by the Lord God were fulfilled. Of course, Mt.Calvary, the place of the Lord’s Cross; so closely linked to Mt.Tabor, the Mountain in today’s Gospel.

Mt.Nebo in present day Jordan where Moses viewed the Promised Land.

The Mount of the Temptations is on the opposite side of the Valley from Mt Nebo

Mountains are places of revelation, they are places of deepened insight; it’s where we can come to that stillness within a prayer-filled moment. It is that kind of experience which we, like the Apostles would like to have captured, so that the pervading influence would continue. I am sure that there have been times of ‘stillness’ in our own lives, when the feeling and sense of ‘at-one-ness’ with God, and those around us, enable us to know deep in our being, that there is light at the end of the tunnel. Moments like that, we too want to contain. This precious moment can give us a real glimpse of hope. We do not need to climb mountains physically to experience this, but every now and then it does happen, if we allow ourselves to hear what is being said to us in the stillness of the moment; in that special place and moment which is our personal mountain top. Food for thought, eh?

13th Sunday of Year A Pope John Paul and Mother Teresa 2

Hopefully this second week of Lent will encourage us to see once again, the need and time for ‘prayer’ in our lives, and a hunger for the Scriptures to nourish us. The biggest challenge is finding the time and space to do it! It is only when we, STOP and LOOK, can we really LISTEN! Can we see the saving hand of God in our lives, and in the lives of our community? This silent space enables us to have that moment when we too can be changed – transfigured by hearing the words in our hearts, that we are in fact the “Beloved” of God. This ability to see and hear, causes us to reverence, respect, forgive and love each other in a renewed way even more, because we are fortified by Christ’s love… for the journey as companions of each other in Christ.

Let us pray……

3rd Sunday of Lent Year A Pic 9

We give thanks to God, our Father, for the glory of his transfigured Son: we are offered the invitation to reflect him as in a mirror and be continually transformed: this great offer is given to us at Baptism, confirmed in the Spirit at Confirmation, and sustained by the Bread of life, and listening to God’s Word with our bodies, our minds and our hearts. We make this prayer through Christ Our Lord. Amen



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Heart Flame 4





1st Sunday of Lent year C, 2019. A realhomilie from Fr Kevin Walsh, Sydney Australia. STOP! LOOK! LISTEN! TO JESUS!

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The Gospel Reading today is common to Years A, B and C. We hear the familiar story of the Temptations of Jesus in the Desert. Let’s situate this story in the life and ministry of Jesus. Having been baptised in the Jordan River, and joined by public sinners in a very public place, Jesus is led into the Desert to be tested! Notice it was ‘the Spirit’ who impelled Jesus to go into the Desert. In doing so, Jesus was identifying with the people of Israel (His people), as they too had been in the Desert for a long time after their deliverance from slavery in Egypt; they too were tested, and within that testing time they were invited into the Marriage Covenant by the Lord God on Mt Sinai. That great event of Salvation had left an indelible mark upon the corporate mind of God’s people. In Jesus, we now see him being tested, as well as being empowered by the Spirit, which enabled him to refute the Devil’s Temptations in favour of a life orientation of unconditional loving service. These Temptations were not just applicable to Jesus, they are the Temptations that have always harassed humanity…Here they are: – The pursuit of Power, The pursuit of Glory, and the pursuit of Avoiding Responsibility. These Temptations were knocked back by Jesus, but they came back to haunt Him many times during His life time, in various shapes and sizes. The same happens to us, doesn’t it? Jesus was nurtured by that special filial relationship with his Father during the time of testing, and at the end of this ordeal, the Lord God’s messengers ministered to Him. Let’s not forget that Jesus was like us in all things, but sin!

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Now, let’s focus on the Wilderness aspect. Apart from the Biblical implications of ‘the wilderness’ which I will talk about further on; wilderness experiences for us are essential for wholesome living. We are very careful that our Motor Cars are serviced on time, so that we can get the best out of the vehicle. The Service Manual tells us so!!!!! Sometimes, it is a pain in the neck to fit the time in to have the car Serviced, but it is very important for us TO MAKE TIME to have the job done. For ourselves, we all live very busy lives, and the demands placed on us by family, work and friends can be very taxing. The demand of the Mobile phone as we call them in Australia and Britain, or Cell phone in many other countries seem to be self-absorbing and time consuming. Last week I was having a light lunch at the Coffee Club…a chain of Café’s that make delicious coffee and serve meals in Sydney.

There was a family of four sitting next to me, and Mum and Dad, and the two kids were absorbed in their phones……..As soon as they sat at the table, out came the phones…….No talking among themselves…..just texting! The poor waitress came over twice to see if they were ready to order, and they had not opened the Menu. The third time she asked them, ’are you ready to order?’ The Dad said, without taking his eyes off his phone…’oh we are not ready yet’! The teenage son then said, ‘I have text my order to you Dad!’   Speaking and listening to each other seems to be a luxury for many people these days! If we can let ourselves be so absorbed in social media, like Facebook and Twitter, do we know the absolute values of ‘silence’……..Listening and speaking in loving silence! If we can’t be present to ourselves, we are not within a bull’s roar of being present to Jesus! It says so in our Biblical Service Manual….The Scriptures!!!!!

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We are not machines or robots; but like our cars, we need maintenance checks and time, to check out where we are going in life, what is dominating us in life, where do we invest our love and energy, and what are we missing out on? The first week of Lent, sets the scene! The invitation is there….’Turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospel….’

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We don’t need to go off into the country to be in the wilderness….we can have our wilderness experience while driving the car to work! Driving to pick up the kids from school! Or quiet time anywhere……time to reflect on our life directions. We can only do that if we are TOTALLY present to ourselves….Turn the phones off….shut down the computer! Turn the TV off! Mum and Dads this is not only good for us adults, but you a doing your kids a big favour in their formation in enabling them to see the value of a REVIEW OF LIFE!! OK, let’s have a look at the Temptations of Jesus…..


  1. “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to turn into a loaf.”

         Jesus replied: “Man does not live on bread alone.”


  1. “I will give you all this power and the glory of these

         Kingdoms….worship me, and it shall be yours.”

Jesus replied: “You must worship the Lord your God, and serve him alone.

             Temptation: POWER AS A LIFE DIRECTION. .

  1. “If you are the son of God, throw yourself down for here, for Scripture says, He will put his angels in charge of you, to   guard you, and again: They will hold you up on their hands in case your hurt your foot against a stone.”

Jesus replied:” You must not put the Lord your God to the test”.




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So, in a nutshell, these three Temptations could well be the headings for a mental – spiritual- health-check. Briefly, let’s check out the first Temptation. Do we only do things or be the person who responds only when it is pleasurable? Are we able to see beyond, what is in it for me? Do we have the inner strength to do things that cause a little sacrifice of our time and energy for the betterment of someone else?

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Are we people who are power hungry and want to look powerful people? Do we inflict the abuse of power on other people in making them stew before we give them an answer or permission? I know that this happens in business, but it also happens in Church governance too!

Do we like to appear to have the upper hand in most things so that can cover our weaknesses? Is our relationships with others, ‘servant based’ like Jesus, or like an unjust Emperor?

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Finally, the third Temptation……avoiding responsibility. Are we people who want to save our own skins so much that we prefer other people to put their hand up for things to do? Do we shy away from what is rightly called of us as adults in life? Can we let the ‘little ones’ of this world share some suggestions with us on how to be more wholesome? Can we waste time profitably with others????? Can we sincerely take the risk of asking them, Are the OK? Or do we back off because we don’t really want to be involved?

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Jesus truly identifies himself with all humanity, and in every age. Jesus did not have to go very far from the Jordan to be in the Desert…just a few miles walk, and in fact he was in sight of Mt. Nebo on the opposite side of the Jordan valley…the very place where Moses and the Hebrews viewed the Promised Land, after their long trek through the Desert. He was also in sight of Jericho, the salad bowl of the Jordan Valley….food, fruit and water a plenty.

The Desert experience was a time of assessment. It is a fact of life that good will is always be tested by evil. If an undertaking, which is supposed to be good, doesn’t come under attack of some kind from somewhere, then, its value should be reassessed. There is not a saint in Heaven, or a truly great person on earth who has not, or does not attract some vicious slander, or find their paths strewn with obstacles. Jesus joins that group in today’s Gospel and still suffers that within His Body the Church today.

As we enter into the spirit of Lent, let us check out the direction and quality of our lives. How do we deal with temptation? Do we sustain our inner selves by responding to God’s life-giving Word through Sacred Scripture? Do we take ‘time-out’ (a mini Desert experience) to re-evaluate the quality of our lives, or are we in fact being led by alternatives to the Gospel message? Do we make room for God’s Spirit, to bring to the surface in ourselves, the holiness that lies deep within? May the Lenten reminder of our fragility stay close to us, if we feel tempted to create an everlasting city within ourselves. “Remember, we are but dust, and unto dust we shall return; turn away from sin, and be faithful to the Gospel” Amen.

26th Sunday year B Growing in Christ

Kevin and Shauna

Fr Kevin and his companion, Shauna

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8th Sunday in Ordinary time Year C 2019. A realhomilie from Fr Kevin Walsh CP Sydney Australia Say what you mean, and mean what you say, in love!

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Say what you mean, and mean what you say, in love!

Today’s Gospel contains some simple and clear messages, which are easily understood. Jesus speaks about how it is so much easier for us to see the faults in others, before seeing the faults in ourselves and he gives us a simple test to show whether a person is good or not. Let’s take a closer look!

As we are on the threshold of Lent which begins next Wednesday, the Word of God this weekend certainly tunes us into a most important part of the Lenten journey…. and that is a ‘change of heart’. It’s ever so easy for us to see the faults in others, and it can become habit forming to be negative, nagging and critical. Over a period of time, this cocktail can be unproductive, soul destroying, and finally it can lead to the death of one’s spirit. It can also be the source of unhappiness towards others, and it can cripple the energy and creative spirit in those close to us, and around us.

When we turn on the Television for the evening News, so often we hear extraordinary promises made by our Politicians about the positive steps that such and such a Government will do in the future to improve our Civic Services and standard of living. However, there is a little echo inside us which subtly reminds us that we have heard this all before and when it is time to put into action some of these fantastic promises, something else has cropped up which is more important in keeping the Government in Office which takes precedence at all costs!

This not only happens in Government or Corporations….it happens in the Church through its Shepherds too. As I am getting older and in the evening time of my life, I am not cynical when I hear these ‘big wigs’ sprouting forth wonderful and far reaching plans; I just look forward to its implementation. If nothing happens……I hear the echoes of the first Reading today from the Book of Ecclesiasticus 27:4-7……’ the kiln tests the work of the potter, the test of a man or woman is in their conversation…’

In Australia and Britain, we are skeptical nations, it’s in our DNA, and I can’t speak for other Countries because I have not lived in them. Maybe the same applies. I for one love listening to Oratory, Public Speaking. When I was stationed at St.Joseph’s Retreat, Nth London, I would frequently make my way to Speaker’s Corner at Marble Arch in London, on Sunday afternoons unless I was rostered on the evening Mass at the Church. I just love listening to the rhetoric. One of the best Speakers that I have ever heard on Social Justice was Methodist Minister, Lord Soper. His Sermon of the Beatitudes as the Charter for Social Justice is the best that I have ever heard. Over the time, we became friends, and I deeply enjoyed his company.

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Getting back to the point….sorry I drifted away for a bit….It particularly irritates me when I hear Bishops giving forth about radical ways of living the Gospel way of life, and Servant Leadership…..and it is all words, no actions. It saddens me that some Shepherds allow themselves to be held captive by other people who seem to have the ‘wood over them’, and somehow anesthetize the daring dreams of the Shepherd. As an old priest, this I feel is very destructive. Bishops may have great mottos’ or maxims, but I wonder if these contain their greatest fears! Food for thought! This might sound a bit below the belt, but just think about it for a moment…..its causes me to pause, with eyes cast down. Back to the first Reading……’the Orchard where the tree grows is judged on the quality of its fruit, similarly a man’s words betray what he feels…’

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Whatever is in our heart really determines what we say and do. I am sure that there has never been a bomb planted, or a bullet fired that did not begin in the heart of some human being. By the heart I mean the core of our being, that part where we are most ourselves. In Psalm 50:v6 we hear…’ Yet, since you love sincerity of heart, teach me the secrets of wisdom’ and again in verse 10, it is echoed in an evergreen prayer,’ O God, create a clean heart in me, and put a steadfast spirit within me.’ I strongly recommend that if you are looking for an Act of Contrition which is tried and true, do be absorbed by Psalm 50/51.

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On a physical level, we can check out the condition of our heart by having an angiogram, or an ECG or even a stress test; this tells us the status and condition of our physical heart. Perhaps we should run a check on that inner being which we call ‘the heart,’ to ensure that our thinking, our attitudes, and our inner dispositions are life-giving and healthy. Also, what we say, we mean, and we will do! Where does that leave us? Most certainly the truth of the matter is that we cannot ‘change’ by ourselves; the Holy Spirit enables all transformation that may be required; that invitation is constant, what about our response?

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Let us pray: ‘Spirit of God, please open my heart and my eyes to truth, and let me see things as they really are…help me to see myself as I truly am. May I not be discouraged, but take heed from your ever present invitation, to rise above my faults, and through God’s grace, May I be quick to see the goodness, truth and love in those who are different to me. May I have the courage to say what I mean, and mean what I say.’ Amen.

Kevin and Shauna

Fr Kevin Walsh with his companion Shauna

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8th Sunday in Ordinary time Year C 2019. A Reflection on the Readings by Fr Brian Gleeson CP, Melbourne Australia. HELPFUL OR HARMFUL WORDS.

A little boy was saying his bed-time prayers in a very soft voice. ‘I can’t hear you dear’, his mother whispered. Back came his firm reply: ‘Wasn’t talking to you.’ One day the philosopher, Aesop, was asked what the most useful thing in the world is. ‘The tongue,’ the philosopher replied. ‘And what,’ they asked, ‘is the most harmful thing in the world?’ ‘The tongue,’ he answered once more.

A famous duchess once confessed to St Philip Neri in Rome the sin of gossiping. He told her to go home, get a feather pillow, and come back to the steps of the church. When he met her there, he handed her a small knife and asked her to rip open the pillow. As she did, she watched the loose feathers dance round and round the church square and along the adjoining lanes. ‘Now go and pick up all those feathers,’ Philip said. ‘I can’t possibly find and collect them all,’ she replied. So Philip made his point: ‘You have no idea either where your words go, and you can never unsay them.’

I think we would all agree that God’s gift of speech, when it is used well – to build up others but not to put them down – is enormously useful. It encourages others, it develops friendships, it promotes sharing and community, and it brings joy. On the other hand, when our words are angry, bitter, sneering, cynical, sarcastic, spiteful, contemptuous and abusive, they can wreck the self-confidence of others, foment hatred and hostility, and even contribute to wrecking a marriage or career.

No wonder then the Wise One states in our First Reading today, ‘the test of a person is in conversation’. Jesus too was well aware of the capacity of speech to do well or to do harm. So he has a particularly strong message for any of us with a tendency towards ‘foot in mouth disease’.

Before we blurt out anything, Jesus wants us to be careful about how we think and feel about others and how we judge them. So, what a cheek we have if, with our eyes blind to our own faults, acting like big logs in our line of vision, we find fault with our neighbour, whose faults, by comparison, may be like mere specks in the eye! How dare we then proceed to correct them! What hypocrisy!

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Many of us find ourselves called to be leaders and guides. We may, e.g. be parents, teachers, and employers, and it’s our job and responsibility to set and uphold standards, and to communicate both expectations and limits. But as the saying goes, ‘it’s not what you say, but the way that you say it’, that makes all the difference. When persons receiving our guidance know that we are speaking to them with tact, kindness and generosity, when they see that we are practicing what we preach, when they see us as good, genuine and consistent, and when they know that we are for them, not against them, then great progress can be made in leader-follower relationships.

On the other hand, the kind of responsibility for others that is expressed as ‘don’t do as I do, do as I say’, which we frequently hear in arguments and rows on TV between parents and teenagers, gets nowhere.

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Much of what Jesus is saying about this can be summed up in his wise words: ‘Out of the goodness of the heart, a good person produces good, and out of a malicious heart, an evil person produces evil, for it is out of the abundance of the heart that the mouth speaks.’ We cannot afford to contract that kind of ‘heart disease’, those ways of thinking, feeling and living that leave us with hard hearts and cruel speech to or about other people.

On the other hand, Jesus has not taught that there is never a place for criticism, challenge, confrontation, and correction among his followers. Just that we have the responsibility to be very careful about what we say about others, and how we criticize and condemn them! Building and sharing a ‘dirt file’ on others and mangling their reputation can, in fact, be very harmful, evil and sinful.

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It’s appropriate, then, that we give our hearts a regular check-up. I recommend that at the end of each day, we run a little performance review on ourselves. ‘How did I go today?, we might ask ourselves. ‘Whom did I meet today? What did I say to her? What did I say to him? Was I helpful or hurtful? Was I friend or foe? We might then round off our reflection (what used to be called an ‘examination of conscience’) with a prayer. For any inappropriate words, a plea for mercy and forgiveness! For all the good things we said, a prayer of thanksgiving!

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